Streakers

The Spartans Academy, home to the currently undefeated Under 17s.
The Spartans Academy, home to the currently undefeated Under 17s.

Do you believe in winning streaks?

What about losing streaks?

I am a lifelong, and long-suffering, fan of West Ham United (I know, right…) and so YES, I really believe in winning and losing streaks. My whole life has been unbelievable Cup runs and devastating relegations in virtually the same year; epic runs of clean sheets that our gaffer gets Manager of the Month just before getting sacked. What about that time in the 2011/12 season, when we had four red cards in as many games?

I’m telling you, it’s real.

And it’s happened here this year – mega streakers. Not the good kind that make it along with their pixelated pecker onto national tea-time news and enjoy a lifelong ban from their club thereafter.

Our Under-17s won their division on Saturday after an unbelievable run of nine wins out of nine games, across three tournaments. It didn’t even cross my mind that on Saturday they would do anything other than win all the games because, well, that’s what they do. That’s what they’ve done all year, and they very nearly did it last year as well.

The Seniors won this weekend too, away at the Ipswich Cardinals. There was a time when I know teams used to go to Ipswich, or be visited by them, and assume it was a given that they’d win because the Cardinals didn’t win, hardly ever. They’d had a losing streak that had lasted three seasons, and they weren’t even a bad team. They have a great ground, great staff, nice players, lovely kit – but they were on a hideous losing streak and couldn’t seem to break it.

But last year they did – they beat us. Nearly four seasons without a win and they beat us. They broke their streak – and they deserved to. Our friends at Double Coverage predicted at the start of the season that the Spartans seniors ‘were likely for the wooden spoon this year and in direct contention with the Cardinals to get it.’

When the seniors lost their opening game of the season this year against London Blitz B, it was on the last play of the game in the last three seconds. It couldn’t have been worse. When we lost our second game, we conceded four touchdowns in the space of about ten minutes. There was absolute dissemination in the ranks. It was horrible.

As our Under-17s went 6-0, the seniors went 0-6. And no one, not really, was playing badly. We prattled about poor decisions and injustice; we recruited 35 new players this year before the season opener and we still weren’t even playing everyone. No one could say being a ‘young team’ was holding us back. We just couldn’t win. We could be a sheet of glass away from the end-zone and still not get the ball in.

But Sunday, we did, and we faced up against the Cardinals who had been having the same losing streak this year as we have; someone was going home with the W and someone was keeping their streak. And again, the Cardinals didn’t play like a losing team, they never do; but then, neither did we. The 0 had to go. And if this victory turns into a new winning streak that plays out, we could potentially finish the season with a better overall result than last season.

IF.

In the meantime, we’ll all sit tight and watch the Under-17s have a real punt at an undefeated, 12-0, perfect season.

It’s been done, you know…